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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August 30, 1980

Many claim that 2016 has been a terrible year, and frankly I agree!  Everything about this year has seemed very off.  But, thankfully, there's only four months left in it as I'm ready to post the last Tuesday Timeline in August.

So, drop your anchors and chill a while as I go over some of the historical happenings that took place on August 30.

1791 - HMS Pandora sinks a day after running aground on the Great Barrier Reef

1797 - British author and playwright Mary Shelley (d. 1851) is born

1800 - A slave rebellion is planned by Gabriel Prosser in Richmond, Virginia, but is postponed due to rain, giving the opposition time to find and arrest the group

1835 - The city of Melbourne, Australia is founded

1836 - Houston, Texas is founded by Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen

1908 - Actor Fred MacMurray (d. 1991) is born in Kankakee, Illinois

1914 - The Russians are defeated by the Germans in the Battle of Tannenberg

1918 - Baseball player Ted Williams (d. 2002) is born in San Diego, California

1942 - The Battle of Alam el Halfa begins

1944 - Baseball player Tug McGraw (d. 2004) is born in Martinez, California

1945 - Hong Kong is liberated by Japan by British Armed Forces

1963 - The Moscow-Washington hotline goes into operation

1967 - Thurgood Marshall is confirmed as the first African American Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

1974 - A bomb is detonated at Tokyo's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Headquarters, killing eight and injuring 378

1981 - The President and Prime Minister of Iran are assassinated by the People's Mujahedin of Iran

1984 - Space Shuttle Discovery takes off on its maiden voyage

1992 - After eleven days, the Ruby Ridge standoff comes to an end, and Randy Weaver surrenders to authorities

1993 - Actor Richard Jordan dies at the age of 56

1999 - East Timor votes to declare its independence from Indonesia

2006 - Actor Glenn Ford passes away at the age of 90

2015 - Director/producer/screenwriter Wes Craven dies at the age of 76

And for celebrity birthdays, we have the following people turning one whole year older; Vic Seixas, Bill Daily, Warren Buffett, Ben Jones, Sue MacGregor, Peggy Lipton, Timothy Bottoms, David Paymer, Frank Conniff, Ricky Sanders, Michael Chiklis, Paul Oakenfold, Lars Frederiksen, Cameron Diaz, Lisa Ling, Aaron Barrett, Andy Roddick, Joe Inoue, Holly Weston, and Tania Foster.

Okay, so what date are we going to go back in time to today?  

Let's try thirty-six years in the past to August 30, 1980.

Now, 1980 was a year in which music styles were greatly shifting.  The disco of the 1970s was fading fast, only to be replaced by songs recorded by singer-songwriters.  1980 was also the year before MTV debuted, and while some music groups had released promotional music videos for their singles, for the most part radio airplay was the preferred method for music promotion.

Sometimes I wish we'd go back to those days - especially after watching part of the trainwreck that was the MTV Video Music Awards that aired this past Sunday.

After all, it was during this time period that a young man from San Antonio, Texas was becoming a big star on both the adult contemporary chart and the Billboard Hot 100.  His debut album was released in December 1979 to glowing reviews, and all four single releases from that album became Top 20 hits between 1979 and 1980.

And it was on this date thirty-six years ago that the highest charting single from that album hit the #1 spot.

ARTIST:  Christopher Cross
SONG:  Sailing
ALBUM:  Christopher Cross
DATE RELEASED:  June 15, 1980

Yes, today's Tuesday Timeline subject is singer-songwriter Christopher Cross, who dominated the early 1980s music scene with easy listening hits and adult contemporary charm.  That's Christopher Cross, not to be confused with Kris Kross, the teen duo famous for wearing their jeans backwards and singing "Jump".

Christopher began his singing career the way that a lot of artists start off - by joining a band.  In this case, the then 27-year-old Christopher became part of a cover band calling themselves "Flash" in 1978.  He played with the band for a few months before going off on a solo career by signing a recording contract with Warner Music at the end of the year.  In 1979, he began work on his debut album, "Christopher Cross", and released it just before Christmas, without any idea of just how successful the album would become.

Little did he know that album would ensure that he entered the 1980s with a huge bang.

Part of the reason why the album was so successful was because of songs like "Sailing".  The year 1980 was a time in which singer-songwriters began to make a huge impact in the world of music.  It was a time in which Billy Joel, Robbie Dupree, Michael McDonald, and Juice Newton were emerging as real music stars, and Christopher Cross' formula of slow, calming ballads with his natural soothing voice was a winning combination for the changing face of pop music.  "Sailing" was a song that could take you to a place filled with peace, tranquility, and relaxation and just listening to that song made you feel as though you were on vacation chilling on a sailboat letting the ocean breeze caress your face. 

TRIVIA:  I guess it comes as no secret that the song is reportedly heavily played at Walt Disney World, huh?

Other hits from Christopher Cross' debut album included "Ride Like The Wind", "Never Be The Same", and "Say You'll Be Mine", but really it was "Sailing" that really became the true success story as it was that single that helped Christopher Cross set a record that to this day remains unbroken.

The success of "Sailing" ensured that Christopher Cross was nominated for a slew of Grammy Awards in 1981, and Cross ended up winning five awards total.  But as of 2016, Cross remains the one and only artist to win the coveted four-pack of what could be considered the most sought after awards of the show all at once.  He won Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist - all at the same time!  

I think it's safe to say that was the high point of what could have been considered a fantastic year for Christopher Cross, and this would lead to him releasing the main theme for the movie "Arthur" in 1981, as well as another successful album "Another Page", which included the song "Think of Laura". 

But by the time the mid-1980s came around, Christopher Cross all but disappeared from the public spotlight, and before you knew it, he was virtually unheard of.  But why was that the case?

Certainly it had nothing to do with talent.  He definitely still had it.  But unfortunately, by the time Christopher had released "Another Page", MTV was being broadcast in more and more homes, and the general mood was that how a band looked was just as important as how they sounded, and artists who used a lot of flair and flashiness were being put on heavier rotation than artists who merely sounded good.  So, because he didn't quite fit the stereotype of what the typical MTV viewer wanted at that time, his star faded into the pop music history books.

But despite this, Christopher never gave up on making music.  He released a total of twelve albums between 1985 and 2014, and while he certainly never had another Top 40 hit after "Think of Laura", his work was critically acclaimed, and to be perfectly honest sounds a lot better than some of the stuff that is passing as popular music these days.  And word on the street is that at the age of 65, Cross is working on another studio album that is set to be released either in late 2016 or early 2017.  It'll be interesting to see how it does.

But at least he can take comfort in knowing that he did have a #1 that charted thirty-six years ago today.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pure Imagination

I would like to make a declaration that for the rest of 2016, no more celebrities are allowed to die. 

It's been bad enough that we've lost Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Muhammad Ali...but now that the news has been announced that Gene Wilder has died at the age of 83...I think it's just way too much to bear.

You see, Gene Wilder was one of the entertainment greats of many generations, and he has appeared in so many films that it would take me all day to just list all of them.  But I have to say that of all the roles he has played, my favourite was when he took on the role of the whimsical, magical, slightly warped, but always fun to be around Willy Wonka in the 1971 film classic "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory".  The film was based off the wonderful book written by Roald Dahl - which was a book that I was introduced to in the second grade and absolutely loved.

I don't think I got a chance to watch the movie until I was twelve or thirteen.  It was playing as the Saturday Night movie of the week on ABC.  From the moment I turned it on, I was absolutely glued to the television screen.  I recorded it on my VCR and watched the movie over and over until the tape wore thin, and now I have the movie on DVD to watch whenever I want.

Now, I have to admit that by watching the movie, it allowed me to have all sorts of wonderful thoughts.  I remember wanting to own my own chocolate factory so I could have a chocolate river to play in at my own disposal.  I remember wanting to have an Everlasting Gobstopper of my very own even though I could have easily bought a whole box of them at the corner store for a buck.  I wanted to open up a candy bar and hope that there was a golden ticket inside.

And yes, secretly I wanted to give a few of my classmates the Veruca Salt treatment.  Of course, nobody knows which ones I would have targeted.  I have to keep some secrets, you know.

But I think from the moment that Gene Wilder performed this song from the movie...that was when I knew that it would be one of my favourite movies of all time.

Now, I just want to say this about "Pure Imagination".  It's a song that has been covered by so many artists from Lou Rawls and Kenny Loggins to Maroon 5 and Josh Groban.  But I have to say that there's nobody that could have evoked the very emotion that Gene Wilder brought to the song when he first performed it 45 years ago. 

There was just something about the song "Pure Imagination" that really struck something in me. 

My childhood was one where I had to use a lot of imagination to keep myself entertained.  I didn't have a whole lot of close friendships when I was little and I lived in a neighbourhood that was 95% senior citizens.  I relied on my imagination a lot to get through the days where I didn't have anyone to play with.  Sometimes I dreamed that I was building a city in the middle of a desolate forest using nothing but Legos and Jenga bricks.  Sometimes I would imagine that I was a teacher who assigned homework to all of my stuffed animals.  Sometimes I dreamed that I was Super Mario, jumping on Goombas and Koopa Troopas in the quest to rescue Princess Peach from the evil Bowser.

The point is that my imagination was quite a huge part of my life.

Unfortunately, there have been some less than nice people out there who didn't understand that.  I suspect that many of them thought that I was weird, annoying, or broken because I preferred the company of myself instead of playing with other children.  I remember one neighbour in particular who couldn't keep her nose out of our business and immediately deduced that something was wrong with me.  In actuality, I felt bad for her because I thought something was wrong with her!

Could you picture how boring and mundane the world would be if we didn't have any imagination whatsoever?  Why, imagination was the fuel behind many of the modern conveniences we all take for granted now!  I think the world needs more imagination, not less!

And to be perfectly honest, I'm grateful that I have such a vivid imagination.  If I didn't have that, it would have been absolute hell on earth.  Having pure imagination helped fine tune my creativity, allowed me to be more comfortable with myself, and most importantly, allowed me to stay in my own little world that was free of insults, hurtful comments, and judgmental people. 

And it was after watching the movie that I felt that Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka was telling me that it was okay to be imaginative.  And that probably is the main reason why I absolutely loved him in that film and why his death is so sad to me.

Thank you, Gene Wilder.  Thanks for helping me realize that pure imagination should be celebrated.

If you want to view paradise,
Simply look around and view it.
Anything you want to, do it.
Wanna change the world?
There's nothing to it.
There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination

Living there, you'll be free
If you truly wish to be...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Let's Talk About Love - 51 Years Of Wedded...Something.

I've been thinking a lot about love lately.

I think it is one of the things that almost every human being wants, yet for some people it is an extremely rare commodity.  Love can be as hard to find as a pure breath of fresh air in the middle of Los Angeles, California. 

Although, I suppose that my mom and dad could be the exception to the rule.

Above is a picture of the two of them on their wedding day.  August 28, 1965.  As of August 28, 2016, they are still very much married, which makes this anniversary their fifty-first.  And, 51 years later, three kids, and four grandkids later, they've come to the conclusion that they are really meant to be.

There have been times in which their marriage has been like that Captain and Tennille song "Love Will Keep Us Together".  Similarly, there have also been times in which their marriage has been like that Def Leppard song "Love Bites".  I suppose that is true with every marriage though.  You have your ups and you have your downs.  Some days you want to spend every single day together and the next you want to mail each other to Abu Dhabi the same way that Garfield always tries to do with Nermal.

So, how is it that my parents have stuck it out for 51 years of wedded...something, while so many people have difficulty making it to the 5.1 year mark?  I honestly wish I had an answer for that, but the truth is that I simply don't.

I suppose part of the reason is that I don't quite understand the concept of everlasting love myself.

I mean, I do know what love is as far as what the meaning is.  I have love for my family.  I have love for my friends.  I have love for those white chocolate macadamia nut cookies that the bakery at my store sells.  Those things are almost considered an addiction for me!

And I definitely know the difference between love and lust.  For one, love is something that is good and wonderful while lust is symbolic for being evil and twisted.  I mean, lust is one of the seven deadly sins, after all.

And besides that, if lust were a person, I'd picture them as being a horndog football player with the IQ of a tsetse fly who is only interested in doing a little play by play behind the bleachers of the school football field.  Or, they'd be the head cheerleader whose skirts are about as short as her attention span that would be the very kind of girl that our lustful halfback would chase after.  Lovely imagery there, right?

No, I'm talking about that moment where you lock eyes on another person and you just know that you're destined to spend your whole life with them.  Where I would look at a girl and this song would be playing in my head...

...and where she'd look back at me, and this song would be playing in her head...

...and we'd all live happily ever after in our Motown kind of life.

I haven't had one of those moments least not one that has stuck.  I mean, there have been instances in which I have developed crushes on people and I thought that I would have a shot at love with them...but somehow I think both Alyssa Milano and Kylie Minogue are taken, so those hopes were immediately dashed.

I've also had moments in which I have experienced unrequited love.  In that I've had feelings for a girl and she's told me that she doesn't date fat people.  First of all, ouch.  And secondly, chocolate chip cookies that you dip in a tub of Cool Whip had more of a personality than her anyway, so it's really her loss!

I've also had moments in which feelings of love have dissolved into feelings of friendship - which I don't mind too much.  Though, given that many of my friends are female, I think I might be doing TOO good a job with that.

But real love...that's the part that I just can't figure out how to find. 

It certainly doesn't help when people constantly tell me that I need to get out more and put myself out there.  For one, these are people who have already found their happily ever after stories, and honestly I think that they need to focus more on that instead of trying to be the latest spokespeople for eHarmony.  And for another, I classify myself as an introvert who communicates a lot better through pen and paper rather than face to face.  Which would be fine if I wanted to date Siri, but let's face it.  She's impersonal, she doesn't always give you what you want for an answer, and she'll make you feel bad if you use salty language in front of her.  Definitely not worth it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that at this point in time, I've made peace with the fact that if I am meant to be in a relationship with someone else, it will happen.  And if it's not meant to be, it's something that I can accept.  Not everybody needs to have someone else to complete them.  If anything, I don't see true love as being a responsibility where two people act as puzzle pieces, join together, and that's the end of it.  Rather, I see a successful relationship as being two different coloured crayons.  Together, they blend the most beautiful shade that represents the very best parts of themselves.  They then take that colour and beautify everything else around them to create a loving network of beauty and wonder.

And, yeah, I know that sounded extremely cheesy, but that's the sentence that came out of my Velveeta brain today.  You're just going to have to roll with it.

At this point in time, unless I get married tomorrow and live to be 86 years old, I'm probably not going to see a 51st wedding anniversary in my lifetime.  I may not even see a 1st wedding anniversary.  But again, I have to keep telling myself that if it is going to happen, it will.

Until then, it's celebrating those who have found true love and made it work.  Like my parents.

Happy 51st anniversary, you crazy kids!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 23 - The Jem Jam, Part 1

On the previous episode of Jem Reviewed, Jem won the Indy 500.  I wish I could say that I was lying, but it happened.  And reality is suspended once more.

What's going on this week?  Another two-parter.  This time, it's Episode 23: The Jem Jam - Part 1.

The scene is a luxurious hotel in the heart of the Hollywood Hills, and it seems as though a huge party/press conference is about to take place.  It seems as though Jem and the Holograms have a surprise that they plan to reveal at this conference, and Rio is with Jerrica to wish the band luck.  I'm sure he would rather wish Jem luck, but since Jerrica is a yellow-bellied coward, he'll have to wait until she contacts Synergy in secret.

Lindsey Pearce is also at the party and she too wants to know what the deal is.  I also note that Video and Danse are at this party as well, but neither have any lines in this episode.  Too bad too...Danse was so good in the last two-parter.  Video, on the other hand, doesn't really garner my attention as much.  It appears as though all of the Starlight Girls are at the party as well - and much like the Starbright party, Jerrica has all of them doing chores.  In Ba Nee's case, she's the guard at the door taking tickets.  At this point, she's only one step above a Walmart door greeter, but she seems to be having fun, so let's not burst her bubble.

Though the Misfits seem to want to puncture a hole inside Jem's perfect little party.  They are hiding in a room at the hotel along with Eric and Techrat where Techrat has a television monitor sitting on a table.  The television is their way to watch what happens at the press conference so that they can figure out what Jem has planned.  Eric has also recruited Clash to assist in their plan.  Clash's job is to pose as a television reporter covering the press conference, and the camera that she will be using will send the images to Techrat's television monitor.

The only obstacle in Clash's way is Ba Nee, but Clash seems to think that she can outwit the little girl.  She tells Ba Nee that her father is looking for her - which given that Ba Nee is living at a home for foster girls should clue her in that it's a trick.  But for some reason, Ba Nee gets excited and runs off, leaving Clash free and clear to enter the party.

Ba Nee runs to the hotel lobby in search of her father, but Ashley manages to find her and brings her back to reality - somewhat.  You see, Ba Nee has this notion that her father is still alive, and goes on about how he has red hair.  Ashley tries to comfort her, but Ba Nee is more than determined to find her father.  I get the feeling that this episode will explore that more.

Inside the venue, Starlight Girl Krissie serves fruit punch to the guests, and a boy around her age grabs a drink from her tray without saying please or thank you, and proceeds to sass her from here to next century.  I get the feeling that Krissie would love to throw a glass of acid in his face, but Hawaiian Punch is as close as she'll get!

With Jerrica now changed back into Jem, she joins Kimber, Aja, and Shana on stage as she makes her announcement.  Everyone listens as Jem talks about a music festival called "The Jem Jam"!  It's essentially the same concept as other music festivals like Lollapalooza or Coachella, but with an eighties flavour.  To help with the Jem Jam, Jem has managed to get several high-profile artists to perform alongside them.  Not bad, considering that the band's only been around a year at this point!

The first guest is a guy by the name of Roland Owens who is meant to be Stevie Wonder, but they can't actually use his name because of copyright.  Because he's blind, Kimber escorts him to the piano where he plays beautifully.

Next we have a Mick Jagger lookalike, Ronny Cox.  Man, they got him near perfect right down to his lips!

Our next guest is R&B soul queen Tina Turner...but for the sake of copyright, we'll refer to her as Lena Lerner.  Oh, and the little boy who happens to be doing the Michael Jackson moonwalk on stage?  That's Lena's son, Dominic Lerner - the same boy who was rude to Krissie.  I get the feeling that by the end of this episode, it'll be punch drunk love between those two, but Krissie just feels embarrassed that she snapped at him, even though he was being quite rude to her.

Not all the guests are able to make it.  Our Madonna wannabe, Luna Dark, hasn't arrived in town yet.  But Jem insists that she will be there in time for the Jem Jam.  Good to know.

At this point, Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer are wondering how the heck Jem managed to snag all of those superstars.  At this point, I get the impression that if the Misfits tried this, they couldn't even get the Limp Lizards to sing at their Misfits Jam.  But Techrat has another plan for the Misfits to steal the attention away from Jem, and it seems as though he has some weird black costumes for the Misfits to wear to demonstrate this.

Back at the main stage, Jem introduces her final celebrity, Johnny Deacon - who's really Bruce Springsteen, but just go with it for now.  

And as Johnny takes the stage, Ashley - who is watching the press conference with Becky, Deirdre, and Lela fantasizes about how good it would be if she were a music star.  And, this is the first of two songs that deviates from the typical format.

Okay, so maybe Ashley and the Starlights won't earn a #1 hit with "I Can See Me".  To be honest, it's a typical pop fluff song from what would be a band of teenagers.  But you have to admire the show for trying to have people other than the Misfits and Jem and the Holograms sing.  In fact, this is one of only two episodes not to feature any songs by either band.  The other episode comes much later.

But no sooner do we finish watching Ashley's song than all havoc breaks loose.  As Jem is hosting the press conference, Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer bust into the room with black jumpsuits that shoot blue laser beams.  That's...actually kind of cool.  But what isn't cool is that the Misfits broke into the press conference without being invited, and Jem angrily tells them that the party was invitation only.  Pizzazz simply remarks that they invited themselves before releasing the next phase of their attack.

That attack is a bunch of punks (hey, maybe they're from that club from Episode 17) who come in and smash cameras, flip tables over, and in the case of the one guy pictured above...eats an entire roasted chicken with his mouth only.  My, that's classy.

Clash manages to get some of the reporters away from the scene by telling them that Jem's "friends" are too dangerous for them, but a few like Lindsey stick around to help.  Johnny, Lena, and all the other Jem Jam guests also pitch in to get them to stop.

Aja immediately gets the party rolling by doing a karate flip to one guy without him even expecting it!  See, this is why I love Aja...she gets the job done.

Jem uses a little bit of Synergy magic to transform a couple of guitars into...movable pinata monsters?  That's about the description that I would use.  Either way, it causes the punks to drop the guitars and gives Rio and Johnny Deacon enough time to throw them off the premises.

Lindsey and Lena use the power of flirtation and karate kicks to abuse another one of the punks, distracting him enough for Kimber to rescue one of the cameras stolen by him.  Nice work, ladies!

Even the Starlight Girls get in on the action.  Ashley leads a charge of Starlight Girls which include Krissie, Deirdre, Ba Nee, Becky, and three other girls we have yet to meet - JoEllen, Marianne, and Terri - to lasso up two of the gang members and tie them up as if they were dancing around a maypole at a Renaissance Faire!  Colour me impressed!

Eventually, the Misfits get bored with the party after Jem and her guests beat everyone up, and take off leaving a hotel lobby with broken furniture, food splattered on the walls, and shredded posters of Luna Dark and Johnny Deacon all over the place.  Jem is absolutely embarrassed, but with encouragement from Johnny, Lindsey, and the others, Jem cheers up enough to temporarily forget about the large bill they'll likely owe.

The next day, all of the Jem Jam guests arrive at Starlight Mansion where they will be staying for the duration of the Jem Jam.  Man, Starlight Mansion must be larger than I thought - unless the Starlight Girls have to share with each other.

Certainly one person who isn't interested in sharing at all is Dominic Lerner, who decides that he will be taking over Krissie's bedroom all for himself - despite the fact that Krissie apologized to him for absolutely nothing and tried to be nice to him even though he was being rude.  All Krissie can do is vent to another Starlight Girl, Anne, about how much of a jerk he is.

Okay, so let's see...Ashley, Ba Nee, Krissie, Deirdre, Anne, Terri, Delaree, JoEllen, Marianne, Lela, Becky.  I count eleven girls out of twelve that are supposed to be there.  Can anyone tell me who the twelfth girl is supposed to be?

I guess that will have to wait, as Ba Nee is moping on the staircase of Starlight Mansion, still longing for her father. 

Now, I have to say...this song will lead into our weekly edition of Jem Trivia.  Because even though Ba Nee is a young girl, the person who supplies her singing voice in "A Father Should Be" is Ari Gold - who was then a twelve-year-old boy!  But I have to say...Gold did a phenomenal job with this song, and it's probably one of the better songs in the Jem discography as far as evoking feeling and emotions.  And it's not even a Jem song!  At least if one of the Holograms left the band, they could recruit Ba Nee as a stand in.  Not that anything like that would EVER HAPPEN...

Ashley manages to snap Ba Nee out of it long enough for her to stop being anti-social and start meeting some of the Jem Jam guests.  As if we haven't met enough new people in this episode, Johnny Deacon introduces Jem to one of his band members, Randy James.  And notice how red his hair happens to be?  Didn't Ba Nee's father supposedly have red hair?

Uh oh...somehow Ba Nee seems to believe that Randy is her biological father and she starts clinging to him the same way that a sheet of Bounce fabric softener clings to a pair of jeans in the dryer!  Jem doesn't seem to think that this is a bad thing, and even Randy seems to be charmed by the young Vietnamese girl.  But I have this sinking feeling that this is going to end in heartbreak for our young Ba Nee.

Of course, for the moment, Ba Nee is cheering Randy on in a game of volleyball that Jem and the Holograms are playing with the Jem Jam musicians, and I have to say, I really like how close this group has gotten.

There's also a scene in which Johnny Deacon tells Jem about how he can fly a helicopter and invites Jem to take a ride with him.  Jem accepts - with Rio standing just a few feet away!  And somewhere out there, the song "Jealousy" starts to play in the background.  Though Rio, to his credit, lets Jem go on the helicopter ride without feeling the need to punch Johnny out.  Maybe his temper is getting better?

While the helicopter ride is going on, it seems that over on the rooftop of Misfits Music, Eric, Clash, Techrat, and the Misfits are embarking on a new promotional gimmick.  Apparently that idea is for the group to release ten thousand helium balloons over the city of Los Angeles with the Misfits logo stitched onto them.  Pizzazz and Roxy think the idea is stupid and they let Eric know this.  I actually agree with them!  The balloons are going to eventually pop or deflate and litter the city streets with multicoloured latex confetti...and since the Misfits name is on every balloon, guess who will be blamed?  Don't even get me started on the damage those balloons would do to the ocean!

Anyway, the balloons are launched at exactly the same time that Johnny flies his helicopter over Misfits Music.  So what happens is that the balloons get caught up in the propellers of the helicopter stalling the engine.  The helicopter crashes onto the roof of Misfits Music in a huge fireball incinerating both Johnny and Jem.  The end.

Just kidding.  Nobody dies in Jem except for Emmett Benton.

Johnny gets the engines going just in time and they fly off towards Starlight Mansion.  And once more, the Misfits get away with attempted murder.  Though it wasn't premeditated.  I don't know.  It's just wrong, I tell you!

Once Jem and Johnny arrive back at the mansion and Jem tells the group everything that happened with the helicopter, Kimber and Aja pick up a couple of stray balloons and deduce that the Misfits were responsible.  Since, you know...their names were on the balloons.  Geez, these girls make the Scooby-Doo crew look like Sherlock Holmes!

At Techrat's metal igloo, the Misfits and Eric have another meeting with Clash, who somehow has successfully gotten the flight schedules for the following morning.  We have no idea how she gets the itinerary, but it doesn't matter that much.  The important thing is that the Jem Jam isn't complete without Luna Dark, and the Misfits now have the exact time when she will be arriving.  I get the feeling that the plan involves the Misfits intercepting Luna Dark and keeping her hostage before Jem can get there.  My question is...what are they going to do with Luna Dark after they have her?  Force her to sing?  It's not a well thought out plan, but Techrat has the device that will change the electronic signs in the airport to deceive Jem.

And when Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer test out Techrat's device on the flight arrival screen, they are surprised to see that it works!  The device changes the arrival gate of Luna's flight to Gate 13.

In the meantime, the Misfits arrive at the true arrival gate - Gate #2.  And Luna Dark seems kind of surprised that Jem now has lime green hair and that she seems to be quite snarly and crude.  Nevertheless, Luna decides to go with them because the plot dictates it.

So when the Holograms arrive at Gate #13 and there's no sign of Luna anywhere, they start to wonder what has happened - well, at least that is until Aja recognizes Stormer getting into a black car and comes to the conclusion that they've kidnapped Luna Dark.

Jem tells the others to go ahead to Starlight Mansion so that they don't lose any more music stars, and she sets out alone to Gabor Manor where Pizzazz lives.  She uses Synergy to first transform the Rockin' Roadster (which I guess has been fixed up since the last episode) into a taxi cab so she can follow the Misfits van onto the property without being noticed.  She then uses Synergy to transform into Pizzazz so that she can sneak past the obviously confused guard at the gate - confused because the real Pizzazz drove onto the property just thirty seconds earlier.  

Jem gets out of the Rockin' Roadster and transforms back into her old self before going out to investigate the mansion to see where the Misfits have locked up Luna Dark.  You know, I'm just gonna go on the record and say that if it were Madonna they had locked up, Madonna would not allow herself to be kidnapped so easily!

But it appears as though Jem's quest to find Luna Dark is about to end prematurely as three vicious looking dogs appear out of nowhere and lunge towards Jem, ready to bite off her face...and...

...TO BE CONTINUED.  Why do they always freeze two part episodes whenever someone's face is about to be bitten off?  So annoying!

I'll comment fully on this episode when I post part two next Friday.  But coming up next week, who comes up with their biggest invention yet?  Who decides to call a truce with a Starlight Girl?  And who nearly gets eaten by a bear?  All this and more happens in the conclusion of the Jem Jam!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 23, 1949

It's time for another edition of the Tuesday Timeline, and this time around, I'll be putting the spotlight on a man who has worn many hats during his career.  And, by hats I don't mean literal hats...I mean that he's a real renaissance man who could be considered a real jack of all trades.  A fair dinkum kind of mate, if you will.

I'll let you Google what I just wrote while we go over the list of events that took place on this date in history.

30 BC - Octavian executes Marcus Antonius Antyllus and Caesarion following the successful invasion of Egypt by the Romans

1541 - French explorer Jacques Cartier arrives in Quebec City during his third voyage to Canada

1831 - Nat Turner's slave rebellion is supressed

1904 - The automobile tire chain is patented

1912 - Actor/singer/dancer Gene Kelly (d. 1996) is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1914 - Japan declares war on Germany during World War I

1928 - Actress Marian Seldes (d. 2014) is born in New York City

1929 - The Hebron Massacre takes place during the 1929 Palestine Riots

1942 - The Battle of Stalingrad begins

1944 - Sixty-one people are killed when a United States Air Forces B-24 Liberator bomber accidentally crashes through a school in Freckleton, England

1946 - The Who drummer Keith Moon (d. 1978) is born in Wembley, Middlesex, England

1951 - Survivor frontman Jimi Jamison (d. 2014) is born in Durant, Mississippi

1966 - Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon...and speaking of moons...

1967 - The Who's Keith Moon drives his car into a hotel swimming pool during his 21st birthday celebration

1970 - Actor River Phoenix (d. 1993) is born in Madras, Oregon

1973 - The term "Stockholm Syndrome" is coined following a failed bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden where the hostages took pity on the robbers

1989 - The "Singing Revolution" takes place where two million people from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania stand on the Vilnius-Tallinn Road holding hands

1991 - Tim Berners-Lee opens the World Wide Web to new users

1993 - The Galileo spacecraft discovers the moon Dactyl

2006 - After spending eight years in captivity, Natascha Kampusch escapes her kidnapper; the kidnapper - Wolfgang Priklopil commits suicide by jumping in front of a train

2008 - Madonna kicks off her "Sticky and Sweet Tour"

2010 - The Manila hostage takes place on a tourist bus where eight people are killed

2012 - Puppeteer/voice artist Jerry Nelson dies at the age of 78

And for celebrity birthdays, we have the following famous faces turning one year older; Vera Miles, Barbara Eden, Mark Russell, Richard Sanders, Willy Russell, Rowena Wallace, Shelley Long, Mark Hudson, Queen Noor of Jordan, Charles Busch, Edwyn Collins, Chris Potter, Dean DeLeo, Alexandre Desplat, Shaun Ryder, Kenny Wallace, Wendy Pepper, Jay Mohr, Ray Park, Shifty Shellshock, Eliza Carthy, Scott Caan, Kobe Bryant, Julian Casablancas, Andrew Rannells, Ritchie Neville, Ozzy Lusth, Natalie Coughlin, and Sky Blu.

Oh, there's one other birthday that I have to add to that list - the birthday of our Tuesday Timeline spotlight.

He was born 67 years ago today on August 23, 1949.

As I mentioned before, this is a person who has had many different career paths.  In some cases, he dominated the music scene with several hits to his credit.  In others, he was a television actor appearing in everything from soap operas to teen dramas.  He's also dabbled in writing and voice work!  Quite the list of achievements for this Australian born entertainer!

Yes, today is the 67th birthday of Rick Springfield, and to celebrate his birthday, I thought we'd have a look at just a few of the many hats he wore during his life and times.  Many of these you'll probably already know, but there may be a surprise or two along the way.

So, let's start with the hat that Rick Springfield has worn the most and go from there.


Okay, so it's fairly obvious that Rick Springfield is probably best known for his music career.  After all, the song below went to #1 in the summer of 1981.

ARTIST:  Rick Springfield
SONG:  Jessie's Girl
ALBUM:  Working Class Dog
DATE RELEASED:  February 1981

But I bet you didn't know that Rick Springfield's career began long before that song was even released!

Having developed a fondness for playing music since he was a child and learning how to play the guitar at the age of 13, Springfield joined the Australian band Zoot in 1969, replacing original lead guitarist Roger Hicks.  And while he became a teen idol for girls in Australia around this time, the cost of being a member of Zoot was quite high.

Could you imagine wearing an all pink satin ensemble like this?  I know I definitely couldn't pull it off!  It was quite difficult for Springfield to be taken seriously as an artist when he had to dress up in Pepto-Bismol pink jumpsuits and sing songs like "Hey Pinky".  Though the band did have a very clever cover version of the Beatles song "Eleanor Rigby" in the early 1970s.

By 1971, Zoot had broken up, and it gave Rick the opportunity to cultivate a solo career.  Though his first few albums weren't as successful as he had hoped they would be, he never gave up on recording music.  It would be in 1981 that "Jessie's Girl" would be released, making him an international rock star.  Other hits followed, including "Don't Talk To Strangers", "Affair of the Heart", and "Rock of Life".  And his success came with great rewards, including a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Male Performance for "Jessie's Girl".

And he's still releasing music today, with his latest album "Rocket Science" having come out in February 2016.


But we also can't forget the fact that Rick Springfield is also quite the talented actor as well.  During the late 1970s, Springfield had made several television appearances with roles on "Battlestar Galactica" and "The Rockford Files".  But 1981 would also prove to be a pivotal year in his television career as well when Springfield landed a role on a popular daytime drama.

"General Hospital" was definitely the show to watch in 1981, and while part of that could have been because that was the year that Luke and Laura got hitched (the most watched soap opera episode in the United States ever), a lot of it had to do with Springfield's role as Dr. Noah Drake.  He had signed onto the show for a two-year contract right around the time that "Jessie's Girl" was released, which he did as a back-up plan just in case the album didn't do so well.  But when "Jessie's Girl" became a #1 hit, it doubled Springfield's workload because when he wasn't working on "General Hospital" he was touring the country with his band to promote his music.  He did the schedule for two years before bowing out of the soap in 1983, though he has returned to "General Hospital" for several appearances between 2005 and 2013.

He also made a couple of films - most notably "Hard to Hold", "Nick Knight", and "Legion".  He also appeared in "Californication", "Hawaii Five-0", "Hot in Cleveland", and "True Detective", and has joined the cast of "Supernatural" - his episodes will start airing in October 2016.


Of course, you could classify the number of songs he wrote for his numerous albums as being part of the writing career, but in 2010, Springfield penned his own autobiography entitled "Late, Late at Night: A Memoir", which did quite well on the New York Times Bestseller List (it peaked at #13).  I've read snippits of it online and it's quite interesting.  Apparently Rolling Stone Magazine thought so too - they ranked it at #23 of the 25 Great Rock Memoirs of All Time.  Not too shabby.


Believe it or not, there actually was a cartoon in which Rick Springfield voiced himself in the cartoon "Mission: Magic"!  I really don't know much about the cartoon as it debuted a full eight years before I was even born, but needless to say it was quite a trippy series.  I suppose the best way to describe it is that it was sort of like the Magic School Bus, only using teenagers instead of fifth graders.  Unfortunately, I don't think the series aged all that well, as Rick Springfield was later quoted as saying that the cartoon scarred him for life.  Ouch!  But still...he did voice work in cartoons, so I have to include it - though I'm sure that the late Casey Kasem probably looked at the years that he did Scooby-Doo a lot more fondly!

So, whatever hat you associate with Rick Springfield, know that he has proven to be skilled in all of them. 

Happy birthday, Rick Springfield!